My Complicated Relationship with Fashion Nova

I’m sure a lot of you are aware of the online clothing website based in California, U.S.A. called Fashion Nova. They are pretty well-known for distributing really cute and sexy clothes for women who want to look like they are dripping in finesse, but on a budget because they don’t make that celebrity money. I would most definitely fall into this category. I had been in love with them and their clothes for a couple of years now, however our relationship has been pretty rocky since Black Friday 2017, and I know for sure that I am not the only one who has been feeling this way since then.

I would just like to apologise in advance for my essay, but is imperative that anyone considering becoming a first time customer with Fashion Nova, or anyone that hasn’t shopped with them in a while, reads the information below:

Up until November last year, I had never had a really bad experience with Fashion Nova. I had purchased quite a few clothes that didn’t look how I pictured or didn’t fit properly, so I ended up having to send them back. But this was always the risk that you took with online shopping in general, not just Fashion Nova. However it was pretty annoying that it took a little while for the returns to be processed because they were so far away, and when this did eventually happen you would always get it back in store credit. Oh yes, Fashion Nova don’t issue you your money back for refunds and they do not do exchanges either. You just send the shit back, and they issue you with the amount in store credit which they call a “gift card”, so you’re free to purchase another item or the same item in a different size, whichever you prefer. Most customers absolutely hate this; to be honest, I’m not in love with this procedure either, especially when you are broke AF and that money back would be really great at that point. I mean, the one benefit of having to return an item of clothing you thought would suit you is that you get your money back to spend on something else. Nevertheless though, I absolutely love clothes. So as annoying as it is that the gift card is the most you will get, I would most likely end up spending that amount on clothes from Fashion Nova at some point anyway. When you apply it to your next order along with a discount code (which I always seem to have), you end up spending hardly anything compared to the full price. So your anger usually subsides as soon as you make your next purchase. The credit doesn’t ever expire either, so if you can’t find anything that you want to purchase then and there, you can always use it at a later date.

So I could put up with the gift cards and having to wait over a week for any order. I could put up with sending items back regularly, not to mention having to pay for shipping for smaller orders, because they do not provide a free shipping service like most online stores do nowadays. Not even to their local customers. I could even put up with getting that “Oops!” email that you get every once in a while when you place an order. This email will basically state that they have had to send you a gift card for the amount of one or more of the items you have purchased, which you usually receive a day or two after you have placed your order. This is due to the fact that at the time you have placed your order, a few other people around the world have been purchasing the same items, and the website hasn’t updated fast enough, meaning it has been unaware that said item(s) are out of stock when your order was placed. Or so they say. I personally call bullshit, because sometimes you’ll go on the website and look at the same item and it will still come up as “in stock”. I’ve even seen plenty of YouTube videos of women in the U.S. saying they’ve actually gone back and re-purchased the item right after they receive the email, and it gets sent out to them! I honestly just think that whoever is running that warehouse doesn’t look for items properly, and just say to them “Hey, this one’s out of stock!” when they’ve literally only looked in one small area of the warehouse. Now, this last one pisses me off a lot. It’s only happened to me two or three times, and one of the times it was only a cheap little tank top, but that’s not the point. How inefficient is your website dude, like really!? Also, how can you not be issuing me with a refund in actual money, even when it’s your fault! But I’m not even going to go there. I literally wasted about two months towards the end of last year being so mad at these people. So I’m gonna do like Elsa, and let it go.

Anyway, as annoying as all of the above was, I could just about deal with it. Despite the fact that I had ended up returning about 40% of the clothes I’d ordered from them so far, I kept shopping with them every once in a while because the remaining 60% of clothes that I had ended up with looked that good on me. Believe me, I would not have put up with all that for any other reason. But Black Friday 2017, they pushed me and countless others way too far!

I placed a pretty substantial order on Friday 24th November, and because I received the  confirmation from Fashion Nova instantly, I didn’t think anything of it. Of course I understand Black Friday is a lot more popular in America than it is here in the U.K., so I was expecting there to be a slight delay. I then got a confirmation to state that my order had been shipped on Tuesday 28th November, so once again, as there was nothing to indicate there was anything out of the ordinary, I didn’t think anything of it. Yes I did usually get the shipping confirmation within 24 hours of making the order, 48 hours at the very most. So, worst case scenario, there had been a delay of about two days. Oh I wish it were that simple! But anyway, again, I was completely understanding of the fact that this was an extremely busy period. After all, I worked in customer service. I get it. So the fact that it had been shipped four days later did not concern me. “I’ll probably receive it maybe a week from that date, a week and a half tops”, I thought to myself. Guess when I received it ladies and gents…Wednesday 20th December! Yes, just over three weeks after I’d received confirmation that the order had been shipped! Almost a month from the original purchase date! Oh, and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

So before I elaborate on the next portion of my saga, I should also mention that I had returned some items to Fashion Nova that I didn’t want about a month prior to my Black Friday purchase and still had not received my “gift card”. I thought I would receive it in time for the Black Friday sale so that I could reap the benefits by spending next to nothing on my order. However I didn’t receive the gift card until Monday 27th November, aka Cyber Monday, just three days after I had made my purchase. They didn’t usually take this long to process returns to be fair, so this didn’t bother me too much. I was honestly just relieved that they had received the items, because I’d emailed their Customer Support and they said that they didn’t have them yet, so I had been starting to get worried.

I didn’t get shopping with my gift card right away, because I’d just ordered a shitload of stuff a few days before and I guess I didn’t feel the need to jump on it straight away. I wasn’t necessarily planning on using it at a much later period, but I definitely intended to have a longer look at what I wanted/needed. It was a pretty good thing that I did this too, because it was a mere four days later, on Friday 1st December, when I received the two dreaded emails from Fashion Nova. I knew it was regarding the order I’d just made, because they always wrote the order number in the subject of their emails. I just remember feeling that deep, miserable weight drop in the pit of my stomach when I read the first couple of sentences in the first email: “Regrettably, one or more items from your order are no longer in stock. While we make every effort to ensure you receive your full order immediately, sometimes simultaneous orders of the same item may result in an item no longer being available prior to shipment. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. We have issued you a store credit in the form of an online E-Gift Card…” They did also send me a discount code, which is always nice, but not as nice as the shit I had ordered. I purchased five items in total, and four of them were “no longer in stock”. This meant that out of the five items I had ordered (which were all coats, seeing as we were now in winter and I had zero), I would only be receiving one of them. The only positive thing about this is was that at least I was being sent the nicest one. A coat which I love, and is incredibly warm. In fact I wore it to work today. But that doesn’t make receiving about 10% of what you ordered any less dissatisfying. I bet you’re all thinking this was the end of my ordeal. Oh no, I assure you, it did not end there!

As I mentioned, I had received a gift card for some previous returns a few days prior to the gift card I had been issued for Fashion Nova’s system error. This meant that I now had $228.24 in total to spend on clothes. I was still pissed off about the whole situation, but I was certainly determined to make lemonade out of the incredibly sour lemons that Fashion Nova had handed me. With any luck, by the time I eventually got the clothes, I’d look just as fabulous as Beyonce (get it?!). I went to view the coats that they insisted were out of stock, and they were still available to purchase on the website! This didn’t make any sense. If the company had gone out of their way to send the email that had come my way, surely they would make it a priority to make sure the website had been updated accordingly. It just felt suspicious to me, so I took a risk and ordered nearly all the coats I had attempted to purchase previously, along with a few new additions. I only ended up putting $23 of my own money towards the order, which managed to be quite a bit more substantial than the original one. Yay for discount codes combined with gift cards, right? Sure enough, the second order went through, although it seemed that it was not actually sent off until Wednesday 20th December. To be fair, at least this time there was an additional message at the end of the order confirmation email which stated: “Due to overwhelming demand this holiday season, you may experience extended processing timed up to 7 business days”. However it said seven days. Not seventeen days. SEVEN. But whatever.

To sum up, I placed my original order on Friday 24th November and did not receive it until Wednesday 20th December, almost a month later. I placed the second order just over a week afterwards, on Sunday 3rd December, which I did not receive until Tuesday 9th January! Yes, I celebrated the New Year before I was able to celebrate finally receiving my order. This one took just over FIVE WEEKS to get to me. Now I’m a flexible woman. This is why the reason for my complicated relationship with Fashion Nova is actually not the extreme delays. I understand that it was Black Friday and then the Christmas period shortly afterwards, both incredibly busy periods which guarantee a massive increase of bookings so therefore delays are inevitable. I understand this completely. Although Christmas does occur every year; it isn’t like it took us all by surprise, so I would have expected them to be a little bit more prepared than they actually were. But still, I get it. The delays, and everything else I mentioned above, was not my issue with them. My issue with Fashion Nova was that I reached out to them several times within that entire period. I literally emailed them every day after a while. I outlined my frustration several times AND tweeted and DM’d them every day as well. I didn’t bother trying to get through to them on Instagram as I’d seen so many complaints about people doing this, and they would actually delete their comments, and then block them! So I did all this, and can you believe I only received an email response TWICE. In a period of over two months, only two people deemed it necessary to respond to my complaints! Not only that (and this is really what made me angry), the two emails that I received were from two separate coordinators, but the content was identical. This meant that they both sent the exact same template to me, without even bothering to change any details at all to attempt to make it even a little genuine! They probably didn’t even read the email! I understand that there’s not much there can be done about delays, and that the courier company is often also a contributor of these situations, but there is absolutely no excuse for the appalling customer service I’ve received. Fashion Nova are literally the kind of company that think they can just throw a few discount codes at you, and that will solve everything, no genuine apology or any effort necessary. I have worked in customer service for years and anybody reasonable will usually be pretty calm when explaining their concerns, as long as they feel as if the person they are speaking to actually give a shit. It’s pretty clear that Fashion Nova don’t really care, because either way they still make a lot of money with celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Cardi B promoting their brand.

After this, I spent about two months insisting that this would be the last time I shop with Fashion Nova. Then I thought I may as well use the discount codes they had given me as compensation to order a last huge haul, otherwise I wouldn’t even be getting anything out of all the time I had wasted trying to get through to them daily for almost over two months. Then I saw a couple of little things (totally accidentally, cos I kept forgetting to unsubscribe to the emails they sent me) that I just had to have. So I used the codes that gave me to get free shipping, and bought a couple more items once or twice, not even needing to spend up to $150 to get it like usual. At this point, Fashion Nova was literally that ex boyfriend that I just couldn’t help but go back to, even though I was only being treated well in this relationship about 70% of the time. I couldn’t help it, the clothes were just so tempting. I’m serious, some of them were so cute. But then I realised that there were certain clothes that would always be a risk to purchase, because they only seemed to work for me about 50% of the time, like their jackets and coats for example. Whereas when it came to certain items like bodysuits, crop tops, jumpsuits and trousers, I never ended up sending them back. I just always seemed to get the right size and style that would suit me, and these are the items that made me look good. These were the ups in the relationship, and the blouses, coats and sometimes dresses were the downs. The times that Fashion Nova just wasn’t good to me. But once I saw myself in a sexy jumpsuit or a flawless bodysuit, all I could think about were the highs. The times I’d wear them on a date and the guy couldn’t take his eyes off me. The times I’d wear one of the items to work and everyone would be asking me where I got it from. It was so easy to forget how terrible the quality of a coat was, or how it just didn’t look the same as it did online, whenever I thought about these occasions.

So, in conclusion, after a tough period of wrestling with my emotions, Fashion Nova and I are back together. I guess everyone deserves a second chance, right? They haven’t quite won my trust back yet, but the delivery periods have gradually become shorter and shorter over the quiet period, and are pretty much back to normal now. So you could certainly say that we are rebuilding our relationship. I’ve basically decided to just purchase the items that have nearly always worked out for me, i.e. bodysuits, crop tops, trousers, jumpers/cardigans, maxi dresses (come summer time) and accessories. The heels aren’t of the best quality, so I won’t be bothering with them, and I currently have enough jackets from them to last me a lifetime. They were always too much of a gamble anyway. Of course, there will be periods where I won’t be ordering from them because I simply can’t trust them, i.e. Christmas and Black Friday! My advice to you all is that if any of you do proceed to shop with Fashion Nova for the first time, do so with caution, particularly if you are in an international customer. Be prepared to wait twice the time you ordinarily would for a delivery, size up when it comes to short dresses or anything designed to be on the tight side, and look at your basket once or twice before pressing purchase. After my experiences with returns, I quite often take a look at certain items twice or even several times, look back at the price, picture what it will probably look like on me and decide that it isn’t worth it.

Make sure that you are actually benefiting from your shopping experience; I decided it was worth it to give them another go because nearly all of the really cute clothes I purchased last year came from them. When it comes to occasions like birthdays or date night, they have remained my first choice. Although, I would also say that another warning to bear in mind is that the quality of some of the jackets aren’t the best. I purchased two jackets in two different colours, both in Medium, and one of them is too small. Yes, just one of them. I exchanged a different one for a Large instead of a Medium, and I swear it felt like the exact same size. No difference whatsoever. Finally, I also have a jacket from them where the sleeves were cut very messily; the thread is still unravelling on one of them, and it’s a slightly shorter length than the other. Particularly shoddy, and honestly not something I noticed until I wore it for the first time. However, I did keep these jackets because they were all $40 each, and with the money involved and sending it off and the time, it just would not be worth it. They did all say “Made in China” on the labels as well, so I could hardly be surprised. So yes, these are all things to consider if you are about to try them for the first time, but I definitely say go for it if you’re feeling their clothes. I’d be a hypocrite to advise against them at this point, because despite everything they’ve put me through, they can definitely expect another purchase from me once summer approaches. I guess it’s true what they say: treat em’ mean, keep em’ keen!

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